Is Not Perfect
I enjoyed your page on "AA, of course it's a cult". Many interesting, thought provoking, and sometimes erroneous, points were made. Just so you know:
I am a recovered (the term "recovering" makes it sound like a person will NEVER feel any better) alcoholic and drug addict. I am a neo-pagan and will not abide anyone in meetings who pushes their ideas of Judeo-Christian ideology on my life. I go to an average of one AA meeting a week, although sometimes less, and have 4 years clean and sober
The 12 steps are suggestions. They are not law. I still associate with people who drink and smoke weed. Just because I can't handle it doesn't mean that no one else has a right to.
AA people are not all fascists and nazis, as your page seems to portray.
There is no charismatic leadership. We are as unorganized as humanly possible!
Bill Wilson used LSD later in his life, and suffered from chronic depression too. Basically, anyone who venerates him (or any other human), or puts their total faith in "God" to the exclusion of their own intellect and power, deserves whatever befalls them.
The 12 Traditions say "We are self-supporting through our own contributions". To me, this indicates that I get off my ass and quit bemoaning my "fate and God's Will". You may be interested in a comprehensive and well researched book on the history of addiction treatment in America. It is called "Slaying the Dragon" by William White.
AA comes out ahead of just about anything else that the government/hospital/corporate cretins have ever implemented or recommended.
I do have problems with AA. It is sexist, biased towards Christians, and promotes the idea of powerlessness. These things are anathema to me. However, it also got me clean and sober, and keeps me sane <grin> and successful. I continue to go to meetings to let other alkies and druggies know that the 12 steps and traditions do work. They are a way to recovery, NOT recovery itself. Members who live for meetings and babble "Big Book" dogma have traded one addiction for another.
Thanks again for your site. I have bookmarked it.
P.S. I love your Atheists page and the Ayn Rand stamp graphic on your mail page.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 00:14:20 -0700
AA comes out ahead of just about anything else that the government/
The author obviously never studied the results of AA's own "Triennial Survey" wherein AA consistently gives itself about a 95 percent recidivism rate in the first year.
These figures can be corroborated by comparing Narcotics Anonymous's sales of the various"clean-time" keytags. The sales of nine-month keytags are well under ten percent of the "welcome to NA" keytags, though when I studied those figures the one-year tag sold slightly higher than the nine-month, due to the fact that many groups gave a one-year tag to anyone who had multiple years. NA now has a special tag for "multiple years," so the sales figures for one-year tags would predictably fall below those for the nine-month tag.
The implications behind these figures are also corroborated by the American Lung Association, who told me that fully 94 percent of smokers quit without any help whatsoever. To highlight the shocking implications behind these facts, anti-"treatment" lecturer and advocate Stanton Peele regularly asks his audience how many have quit both drugs or alcohol and tobacco. When asked which is harder, those who had quit both substances almost always tell him that the tobacco was harder to quit. It is interesting that if drugs and alcohol are easier to quit than tobacco, and if only an insignificant number of smokers even seek help when they quit, that we install these expensive, ineffective treatment programs for drugs and alcohol, and insist that AA is the answer (and insist that it works when the truth is that it doesn't).
The point I am trying to make on my site is this: with all the whooping it up for AA and NA, and with all the court-mandated coercion into the AA and NA programs, those programs simply don't work. Their effectiveness is considerably worse than the natural outgrowth of addiction, and certainly worse than chance for the comparatively few addicted people who end up trying the Program. The doctrines of powerlessness, group-dependency, abstinence conditioned on one's relationship with a rescuing deity, and temporary "Just For Today" abstinence can be shown to actually impair one's prospects for long-term abstinence. Quitting once and for all, and doing it entirely under one's own power has shown itself to be a much better prospect.
Finally, when push comes to shove, the Program is not about quitting an addiction, the Program is about the Program. Furthering the Program's agenda is more important than anyone's continued sobriety. Furthering the Program's agenda is more important even than obeying the United States Constitution when it comes to cooperating with agencies that illegally mandate people into the Program in violation of the First Amendment. In fact, furthering the Program's agenda is even more important than the Program's own core tradition that says the Program is strictly voluntary and that nobody should be forced to become involved in the Program against their will. This is evidenced by the fact that the groups continue to sign people's meeting attendance slips and refuse to express an opinion on their own core tradition about the Program being voluntary.
Meanwhile, two studies have shown that between 70 and 80 percent of those who were once addicted to drugs or alcohol quit on their own without so much as reading a pamphlet.
The Twelve Steps are law when some poor schmuck has been mandated into the Program by a court, or has been coerced into the program by an agency such as Adult and Family Services at the risk of losing the custody of one's own children -- just for blowing .08 in a .07 state (a single pound of Guinness)! The Twelve Steps then become law because the "Big Book" pronounces dire warnings and predicts fearful consequences of any who would dare to think for oneself on such matters as the Twelve Steps.
Sure the Twelve Steps are "suggested": The Steppers and the literature "suggest" that you work the Twelve Steps (read: get religion) because your only other choice (according to the "Big Book") is to die a miserable death. And if you don't tow the party line in some Twelve Step communities, they will ostracize you and things can get quite tough -- especially when you don't know the truth and all you think you know is just the official Twelve Step disease and powerlessness dogma. If you come to believe you're powerless, you become powerless!
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